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Net-free zone declared for Broome

THE WA Government says Broome’s Roebuck Bay is set to become a jewel in the crown for recreational fishing in the Kimberley, thanks to a decision to remove commercial gillnetting in the region by the end of the current fishing year.

Department of Fisheries Deputy Director General Heather Brayford said the commercial gillnet fishing licences operating in Roebuck Bay had been put up for sale and the State Government had taken the opportunity to purchase them.

“This move will boost the potential barramundi stocks available for fishers in the area and ensure a quality local fishing experience for threadfin salmon in the bay,” Ms Brayford said.

“Importantly, local supplies of fresh fish will still be available in Broome with stocks sourced from other areas off the coast, where other licensees of the Kimberley Gillnet and Barramundi Managed Fishery will continue to operate.”

Ms Brayford said the decision was likely to be well received by local fishers and was supported by the local Yawuru people, Recfishwest and the Broome Fishing Club.

“Roebuck Bay Marine Park is one of five marine parks the State Government has committed to as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy,” she said.

“Being on Broome’s doorstep, Roebuck Bay is extremely important to the local community, and with commercial gillnetting removed, there is great confidence locally that tourism will benefit as the word spreads.

“Long term, I also expect fishing charter operators in the area to attract more customers, to enjoy the fishing experience close to Broome.”

The purchase of the licences by the State Government will be funded as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy through the Royalties for Regions program.

Recfishwest has welcomed the decision, saying it will benefit recreational fishers, charter operators and tourism. Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland said the move would be welcomed by recreational fishers and was particularly pleasing for the local community and the Broome Fishing Club.

‘’Roebuck Bay is an important area for recreational fishing as it allows a wide variety of good quality safe fishing experiences for families with small vessels.‘’

“We are glad the Government has listened to the voices of the people in the Broome region and recognises the valuable contribution that recreational fishing makes to the Broome lifestyle.”

“It is not about getting rid of commercial fishing, which has an important place, but rather maximising the use of a limited resource which will bring huge benefits to the community.”

A Code of Conduct for Recreational Fishing in the Kimberley is available from the Department of Fisheries’ website www.fish.wa.gov.au.

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